Contrary to less-than-popular opinion, fudge was not sent down from Mount Olympus or conjured by Druids on the moors. The truth is a little closer to home, and a lot less exciting.
In reality, we don’t know who first created the chocolate concoction. It might even have been a “mistake” when trying to make caramels — which would make sense since the word “fudge” had the accepted meaning of “fit together in a clumsy or underhanded manner.” Thus, the first cook probably went “Oh, you should try some of my fudged caramels.” (To think, in a more profane era, this company’s name might be something you can’t say in mixed company!)
Made in America
Ok, so that may or may not be true. What is known, you ask? Well, in the late 1880s, fudge was sold in Baltimore Maryland. This fact, and the price of forty cents per pound, comes from a letter written by Savannah native Emelyn “Lyn” Battersby Hartridge, the eldest daughter of Alfred and Julia Hartridge, when Lyn was a student at Vassar College. According to the Internet, Lyn wrote that the cousin of a schoolmate made fudge in Baltimore. (Could the cousin actually be the person who fudged up the caramels? Where is my T.A.R.D.I.S.?)
But wait, we know a little more about Miss Lyn Hartridge. She made fudge for a Vassar Senior Auction in 1888 and it was a hit. The parallels with Scrumptious Fudge are astounding: we have made fudge for friends and family for years before opening our new location — and our fudge was also a hit!
Just as Scrumptious Fudge has our own recipes, it was popular in the late 19th century to modify the recipe from Lyn. Soon “Vassar Fudge” had spin-offs at Wellesley and Smith Colleges, among many others. You can find some of these recipes, but not ours, on our recipes page.
There you have it. As Paul Harvey would have said, “Now you know the rest of the story.”